Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to talk about the team's disastrous 2012 season and the decision to fire Bobby Valentine.
"If this is broken, as indeed it is, we're determined to make it right and get back to the success that we've had in our first decade," Lucchino said.
Lucchino described the Thursday morning meeting where Valentine was given the news that he would not be returning for a second season. Lucchino clarified that it was not a breakfast meeting, as had been previously reported, but a mid-morning meeting at Lucchino's house.
"It started with a statement from Ben about the decision that had just been made," Lucchino said. "And then Bobby took it with great grace and professionalism, I must say. I've had the misfortune of being involved in these kinds of decisions from time to time over my 30 years of baseball, and he was exceptional in his grace and constructive comments. … As to whether he anticipated what was going to happen, you'd have to speak to him. We didn't ask him that question. But he certainly, as I said a minute ago, accepted the decision with grace and recognition."
While there were numerous reports of clubhouse problems during the season, Lucchino said the main reason for this decision is the team's lack of success.
"I find it awkward and probably a little inappropriate to go into 'Who shot John?' and what went right and what went wrong," Lucchino said. "I think what's easier to discuss is the record. If we were 93-69 instead of 69-93, we wouldn't be having this conversation. We're in a results-oriented business, and the results did not occur. We have high levels of expectations here in Boston, and I think rightfully so, and we did not perform. And Bobby understood it in those terms. He basically did [say], 'My job is to put together a winning team, to deal with the problems that emerge during the course of a tumultuous season and ensure that the team wins as it's expected to do.' And that didn't happen. So he recognized that the bottom line was indeed the bottom line."
There has been widespread speculation that the front office hurt Valentine's ability to run the team by failing to back him when players complained. Luchino insisted Valentine was able to be himself and had the support of his bosses.
"I think he was Bobby V. I think he wanted to be a little careful at the beginning because he stepped into such a difficult situation following the historic collapse last September. That may have urged him to be a little more careful because the situation was so volatile," Lucchino said. "But by and large I believe he felt that he had our support from the beginning. And throughout, we made it clear, publicly and privately, that when a situation was called into question that we were going to deal with the manager issue at the conclusion of the season and not until the conclusion of the season.
"From my point of view, he had my support. Certainly, I was an early advocate for him last offseason. And as he leaves the manager's office today I remain a supporter, someone who sees terrific things in Bobby Valentine, both personally and professionally."
One of the reported instances of front office interference came when Valentine allegedly was admonished for berating a player during spring training.
"No, he was not admonished," Lucchino said, adding: "Some [players] may have thought it was an unusual way to deal with it. But that whole issue [during an early season game] with Will Middlebrooks, I think Bobby handled just fine."
Looking at this year's managerial search as compared to last year's, Lucchino said the key differences are that the team is opening the search earlier and rookie general manager Ben Cherington now has the experience of having gone through the process once already. He also indicated that the shakeup around the team will continue.
"We do think that there are some things that need to be done besides this. This is not the only change that's going to made this offseason," Lucchino said. "There are myriad changes that will be made. We've begun with the megatrade with the Dodgers, with the addition of Jason Varitek, with the supplement to our evaluation process with Eddie Bane, now with the managerial change, there'll be some coaching changes. There will be a host of changes. And there will be some new personnel.
"We believe we have a core of good players, a core of really positive, exciting, hard-nosed players that our fans can embrace. I'm talking about Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz and Will Middlebrooks, and I could go on and on. There's a core of good players there. But we've got to supplement them, we've got to use free agency, we've got to trade, we've got to do what we can to add to this team to make it stronger and let's hope make it healthier."
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On if the players have a say in who will be hired: "We will talk to our players, of course, the more input we get from players on things, the better. But they do not have a vote in this process. This is not a referendum of players who will tell us who they next manager should be. That, I think, is misguided."
On reports that last offseason the players were told the team would not hire a confrontational manager like Bobby Valentine: "I have no personal knowledge of that. I've heard the same story, that Theo Epstein -- I believe it was, at least that's the story that I've heard -- made that comment while he was here as general manager. But of course the decision was made later than that, after Theo was gone. So, I don't know if he indeed did say something like that or not. You'd probably have to ask him."
On if the team should have reconsidered retaining Terry Francona last year: "I don't want to open old issues except to say Terry was not an option. He told us he was not prepared to manage again in 2012, and we took him at his word. So, no, that alternative was never considered or explored."
On accountability for the struggles this season: "The lack of success that we endured during this terrible 2012 season is a responsibility that's shared by a lot of us, including yours truly, including Ben Cherington and our baseball operations department, including John Henry and Tom Werner representing our ownership. There were enough misjudgments and problems that developed that there's plenty of accountability to pass around."
Greg and Chris discuss the Pats kicking the tires on Rolando McClain, something that shocked both of these guys. They also get into the Aaron Hernandez trial and Robert Kraft appearing as a witness last Tuesday. Aaron Schatz, Football Outsiders, called the show to talk offseason free agency, Pats HOF/Parcells and more. The guys also got into the NFL schedule coming out soon and who the Pats will open with.
The intelligent and knowledgeable Aaron Schatz calls the boys to discuss the Patriots offseason, how some teams don't need to make moves in free agency to improve, the Pats HOF debate and much more.
In hour 1 on this fine Easter Sunday, Greg and Chris discuss the Patriots Hall of Fame - who's in, who's not and who should be? They also get into the NFL draft and discuss some particular names Pats fans should keep in mind with WEEI.com's Mike "Trags" Petraglia.
Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Flannery joins Mut to break down the Isaiah Thomas trade to Boston and what it means for the Celtics this season and in the future. Paul also chats with Mut about the other deals that happened at the NBA's trading deadline
Xander had the game winning hit in the bottom of the 9th to get the Red Sox on top of the Baltimore Orioles 3-2, he talked with Joe and Dave after the game about what his thought process during the at-bat was and the excitement of a walk-off.
Buster Olney of ESPN joins the guys to talk about the first two weeks of the baseball season. They discuss the struggling Red Sox rotation and the potential of the high-powered offense.
Joe and Dave talk with Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan after the Red Sox come back to beat the Nationals 8-7.
Cominf off a terrible game agaisnt the Capitals, Pierre McGuire discusses Claude Julien's decision to mix up the lines as well as the Bruins two remaining games.
We talk all things Bruins with the great Jack Edwards of NESN as they prepare to take on the Capitals.
In hour 2 of the Easter edition, the Sunday Skate crew discuss Reilly Smith and how he is struggling to get on track. This leads to a discussion of his much disputed new contract and Chiarelli's way of conducting team business. They get in Gregory Campbell's role on the team and if he still deserves as much ice time as he has been getting. More line discussions and a look at the B's playoff push ensue.
The latest edition of Answer The Question Kirk with Rob Bradford and Gary Tanguay.
The Celtics president of basketball operations joined the show to preview Cavs Celts.
The guys discussed the Pats draft with Todd McShay.
Kyle Draper and Sports Radio Hack Lou Merloni make up after beefing earlier in the week, Aaron Hernandez gets taken down by Larry Willmore, and our very own Christian Fauria makes his Country Music Debut
Celtics play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman joins the guys to defend his prediction of Celtics in 6.
After some suspicious outfield play from Red Sox Left Fielder Hanley Ramirez, the guys question whether or not he has what it takes to play in the outfield, a position he has never played before.
Michael, Jerry and Andy Hart discuss this year's Celtics as they enter the playoffs to take one of the best teams in the East in the NBA Playoffs.
We discuss the Britt McHenry suspension from ESPN, and the incident itself, and whether or not we've all had an incident like this, and whether her response was in any way appropriate.
We wrap up the day with some of the best sound of the day and the week.
Mikey Adams, joined by Lenny Megliola and Chris Villani, talks about the Red Sox home opening win at Fenway and the Bruins fallout after missing the playoffs including the future of Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Mut opens his show talking about the New York Jets filing tampering charges on the Patriots
Ben and Sam are joined by Julian Edlow from WEEI.com to give their predictions on every series in the NBA Playoffs.
Jerry is joined by hockey writer Brian "Rear Admiral" McGonagle of Barstool Sports to perform a post-mortem on what happened to the 2014-15 Bruins, who's to blame and where the team goes from here.
Ben and Alex break down Leg 1 of the quarter finals of the Champions League and talk about some of the most interesting transfer rumors.
The Celtics president of basketball operations joined the show to preview Cavs Celts.More from this show
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington joined the show to discuss the start of the season.More from this show